Man in Shadows
Hello, my name is Scarlet Davidman. I don’t mean to state the obvious but as you can see by my trusty wheels underneath me, I’m in a wheelchair. I have cerebral palsy, which makes me unable to walk and makes my speech not always the greatest. I was born with this condition but I had a quite normal childhood. I was a well-adjusted, innocent, smart, and over-imaginative kid but I have one childhood disturbing memory that still gives me a chill up my spine. It was an evil memory that I know with every fiber of my being that wasn't at all imaginary.
I was six years old. It was a cold January afternoon and school was called off due to the snow. My mom didn’t want me or my older sister Courtney, who was eight at the time, to go out in the snow that day because it was still below zero. Courtney was upstairs in our room, listening to her new stereo. I was downstairs in the kitchen, coloring a picture in my new coloring book that I got for Christmas. I was at the table, facing the backdoor. The oven was on to keep our townhouse warm and I can still remember enjoying the mild heat on one side of my face, feeling obliviously content. The dangling blinds on the large, sliding, glass backdoor were closed but daylight could still shine through the slits. I just finished coloring a picture and called for my mom, who was watching television down the hall in the living room.
“Mommy,” I yelled out, “Come look, please!”
“Come look at what?” she replied, clearly annoyed that I was interrupting her T.V. watching.
“I colored a picture for you Mommy,” I called out happily, “Come see!”
She let out an irritated sigh and said, “Alright, hold on please, I’ll come and see at the next commercial!” Then, she turned up the volume on the television.
“Okay Mommy!” As I sat there waiting, I suddenly heard a loud knocking sound. I practically jumped out of my skin but I still looked around to find the source of the mysterious sound. My wide eyes fell on the long, wooden block that was in the bottom frame of the backdoor. The locking bar on the sliding door sometimes came lose, so Dad put the block there to keep the door closed and secure.
With another loud thud, the block bounced out of place. I was scared and confused. It was as though someone was kicking it free from the outside and that’s when I saw it; a tall shadow silhouette standing outside of the backdoor. I couldn’t see if it was male or female but I saw that the shadow had weird, spiky hair that went upwards, downwards, and sideways all around its head like a wind-blown, pointy lion’s mane. The shadow had its hands pressed on the door and it tilted its head as though it could see me through the closed blinds.
My muscles automatically tightened, I was barely breathing, and fear awoke my bladder, urine quickly soaking my pajama bottoms and seat cover like a river. All that I could do was stare fearfully at the unknown shadow. Then, the shadow banged on the glass with its fist. The banging got louder, louder, and louder! The shadow was hitting the door so hard that it shook violently, looking as though it was about to fall.
“Is this the boogieman?” I thought in horror. I covered my ears but my eyes were still glued on the shadow. I tried to yell for my mom but I was too terrified to speak a complete sentence.
“M-m-mommyyy…,” I forced out in a shaky, breathless voice, “…here…now…”
“I told you to hold on, Scarlet Ann,” Mom scolded from the living room, “and I can’t understand you when you don’t breathe! It sounds like grunting. Remember what your speech therapist said? Take a breath and speak like a big girl!”
“M-m-m-mommyyy!” I continued to yell, as the shadow punched the door somehow without breaking it and a sudden, peculiar gust of wind that seemed to come of nowhere filled the kitchen. My chair was pushed away from the table by the strange wind, slamming me against the wall and I began to cry. Then to my complete horror, I heard a fierce hiss then an agonizing, bloodcurdling shriek outside.
“Stop it!” I sobbed to the shadow. The shadow had something long and curved in one hand and something else that looked like it was being held upside down, squirming around in the other hand. I couldn’t really see what the two things were and didn’t want to.
I closed my eyes but outside, there was a loud, horrific slashing, splattering sound.
“Stop it or I’ll tell my mommy!”
There was another awful shriek then a thud and to my dismay, I opened my eyes. I saw the squirming thing fall onto the ground and some dark liquid splash onto the window.
“Stop it, stop it, stop---!” I was sobbing hysterically when my mom finally walked into the kitchen.
“Why didn’t you tell me that you needed to go to the bathroom?” Mom scolded again, seeing my big pee stain. I frightfully darted my eyes from my frowning mom to the backdoor. The shadow was gone and the terrible screams had stopped abruptly. The blinds were swaying slightly but everything seemed to be back to normal. Mom saw that I was crying and I was pale but she thought that it was because she raised her voice at me so she eased up.
“It’s okay Sweetie,” she said calmly, moving me from the corner, “I’m not that mad. Just tell me next time when you have to go, okay? Let’s clean you up.” As she took me out of the kitchen, I saw through the blinds that something was smudged on the glass but all that I could do was cry.
I wanted to tell my mom and dad what I saw but even at that young age, I knew that no one would believe me. Mom would just roll her eyes at me and Dad would say with a laugh, “It was just your imagination playing tricks on you, silly girl.” I didn’t want to be teased or be in trouble for ‘telling stories’ so I kept it a secret.
Later that evening, we were getting ready to eat dinner. My mom was setting the table while my dad was taking his famous cheese burger pizza out of the oven. Courtney was about to open up the backdoor’s blinds and turn on the back light because the weatherman on T.V. said earlier that more snow was coming. We both wanted to watch the fresh, falling snow. At first, I was nervous about going near the backdoor.
I thought, “What if that scary shadow comes back?” Then, I reminded myself, “Mommy and Daddy will protect us.”
Courtney and I were excited about getting more snow but the moment that she turned on the light, we saw a gruesome sight. Old blood was splattered on the backdoor and a dead white cat hung upside down from a tree. It was crudely disemboweled; its intestines hung from its frost bitten corpse like strings, blood still dripping down onto the snow. Some of the blood droplets even froze up, looking like crimson icicles. We both screamed in horror and our parents came running. I knew that the shadow figure had done this earlier while I watched. Even though my mom told me to look away, I couldn’t. I was absolutely terrified but at the same, I was mesmerized by the gore, by the contrast of colors of blood on the fluffy, white snow.
I had nightmares of screeching, bleeding cats and unknown shadow people for a while but over the weeks, the nightmares soon stopped and the ominous shadow figure became a distant memory. I never forgot about it though; I wouldn't, I couldn't. Ever since then, I don't ever sit by myself in the kitchen. It's a memory that lurks in my subconscious to remind me that there's an existence of evil.
(c)Lena Holdman, all rights reserved 2016